Tag Archive for: conversations

Making Meetings Matter: New Rules and Cool Tools for Corporate Conversations in the Digital Age

MMM-Front4

I may be celebrating prematurely, but permit me just a bit of shameless self-promotion.

As I have mentioned many times previously, I’ve been working for the past year on this book about corporate conversations and, in particular, the settings in which most conversations take place: formal meetings.

The book is now in the hands of my publisher, Henry DeVries of Indie Books International; it’s due to be published in early January 2016. I can’t wait!

There’s lots of work still to do to make the book worthy of your attention, but I’m now concentrating on the second big job any author has: creating “buzz” and visibility. Writing the book is challenging enough, but getting the word out about it is just as important.

I’m going to be very upfront and open about that process, because I’m learning as I go, and I have this core belief that you will find the process as interesting as I do. I hope I’m right! Read more

In a Boundaryless World, Peak Performance is More Difficult than Ever

I’m just back from a whirlwind two-day unplanned trip to New York City. I was invited to join a small group of entrepreneurs and futurists in a wide-ranging conversation about the future of work.

Our host, the Chief Marketing Officer of a Fortune-50 company, asked us to help him understand not just the way work is changing, but what kinds of challenges individuals and teams are experiencing today. He’s interested, for obvious reasons, in focusing his organization’s service offerings and value proposition on ways to help address those challenges and enhance his clients’ performance possibilities.

While there is no way I could even begin to summarize our high-energy, two-hour conversation, I was struck by one theme that came up several times:  Read more

Making Meetings Matter: Strengths-Based Teambuilding

Each of us approaches problems and relationships with a particular style, or from an individual point of view. There are dozens of personality and interpersonal style models (DISC, Myers-Briggs, and so on).

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.42.25 PMHowever, my favorite individual style model is based on the Clifton StrengthsFinder© assessment first defined by Marcus Buckingham and Donald. O. Clifton of the Gallup Organization. Two of the many books describing the model and how to apply it are well worth getting and devouring: Now, Discover Your Strengths (Buckingham and Clifton); and StrengthsQuest (Clifton and Anderson).

The StrengthsFinder model identifies 34 core talent themes that each of us has in some degree. More importantly, it assesses individual strengths and tendencies within each of those 34 dimensions, producing an individual talents profile.

The most important insight that Buckingham and his team brought to the search for peak performance Read more

Making Distributed Meetings Matter

Distributed MeetingOn the eve of IFMA’s annual World Workplace conference, which I am attending this week in Denver, it seems appropriate to think for a moment about meetings that don’t take place in a “place.” I’m thinking of course of meetings where everyone is somewhere else – what most of us call “distributed” meetings.

One distributed meeting practice I hold very dear is this [New Rule]: Do not schedule a “mixed meeting” unless there is absolutely no alternative.

A mixed meeting is one that includes two or more people in the same place plus one or more others calling in from somewhere else.

I’ve almost never seen a mixed meeting go well; some organizations actively prohibit them – if anyone is participating remotely, everyone calls in, even when some participants are located close together. Read more

Making Meetings Matter

NoC&CLast week I called for an end to the “Command and Control” model of leadership (“Rethinking Leadership: Death to Taylorism!”).

We must think about leadership very differently for the richly interconnected world we now live in – an economy and a society that futurist Don Tapscott calls “The Age of Networked Knowledge” (see “Four Principles for the Open World,” Tapscott’s 2012 TEDGlobal talk).

A twenty-something German blogger named Philipp Riederle understands better than anyone else I know just what “networked knowledge” means for the way we live and work.

In Riederle’s view there are at least three very profound ways that our information access and personal communications have changed in the last decade – three realities that most of the world now takes for granted, but that are absolutely unprecedented in human history. Read more

Rethinking Leadership: Death to Taylorism!

Magnifying glass on the word Redefine

I’ve been thinking and writing about leadership for a long time. Here’s why we should be having a national conversation about the need to redefine what kind of leadership we want and need – whether it’s in the White House, the corporate corner office, or the conference rooms where so many of us spend so much of our time at work.

For more than 150 years (and actually much longer than that) leadership has meant being in charge. Leaders took command and exercised control because they knew more than their subordinates, or they had more power. Originally, of course, power meant physical strength, or control over powerful resources, like armies or ships, and weapons. Or financial capital, or technical know-how.

Here is a brief (6 -minute) video summary of the ideas contained here. I recorded it this morning for a live Periscope broadcast. Note that the video is essentially a brief restatement of this post:

For over a century most organizational leaders embraced the concept of “Scientific Management” generally credited to Frederick Taylor. Taylor argued that the job of managers was to think, and the job of workers was to do. And anyone who challenged a manager’s directions was viewed as insubordinate. Read more

Honor Labor Day by Redefining Work and Leadership

Labor Day signLabor Day in the United States honors the American labor movement and the contributions to our economic and social well-being made by millions of American workers. It has also become a marker of the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. Most of us are now moving past vacations and casual work hours to a more serious and focused time at work. [continue reading...]

Don’t Stop Talking About Tomorrow: A Guide to Surviving the Future

conversations1How often do you talk with your colleagues about the future and how it will affect your organization?

As I have mentioned many, many times here and elsewhere, most leadership teams spend less than 3% of their collective time talking with each other about the future – of their company, their industry, and the world in general.

In my experience, most of us live day to day assuming that the future will be just like the recent past. We realize that there are some predictable trends, and that some things (like the weather) go through regular cycles, but for the most part we expect tomorrow to be similar to today.

Well, to be more accurate, we either expect sameness, or we are so overwhelmed by change, uncertainty, and innovation that we hunker down and live in fear that our lives are out of control. We worry – often rightfully so – about being blindsided by new products, new competitors, or new rules and regulations that put control of our businesses in someone else’s hands. And that kind of worry actually leads to believing, or at least hoping, that tomorrow will be just like today. Read more

Data Builds Understanding; Stories Build Commitment

Once Upon A Time

Last week I raised the question (and answered it) “Why are there so many bad meetings?” This week I focus more on the positive:  what good meetings feel like, and how some organizations are working to not only enhance meeting experiences but also to make meetings more effective and meaningful.

Recently a friend told me about how one clothing company has developed a culture of storytelling that dramatically affects the way its meetings work.

According to Mary, a director of workplace strategy at that company, its meetings are filled with storytelling, and the presentations are heavily image-based, with a minimum of words on the individual slides. So instead of boring bullet points and slides filled to overflowing with data, the presentations feel more like personal stories, with heroes and villains, crises and victories, and lots of emotional content. Presenters seek to influence and inspire through images, stories, and feelings rather than through “hard data.” Read more

Leadership: What’s New?

leadership

It’s been said that leadership is the most studied and least understood of all subjects in the business world. There are thousands of books about leadership, and just about as many keynote speakers, workshop facilitators, and pundits who claim to have “the” formula for leadership success.

But in spite of all that there is absolutely no easy pathway to being an effective leader. Part of the trouble is that leadership is an all-encompassing activity, required in so many different situations, that there is no single “right way.”

It may be true for all time that one plus one equals two, and that iron is heavier than water, but if you are seeking that kind of certainty about how to lead, I guarantee your search will never end. Read more